Pressure mounted on the Delhi government on Wednesday to take action against law minister Somnath Bharti after one of the African women allegedly assaulted in a midnight raid in south Delhi accused him of having led the group that barged into her house.
“We were attacked on Wednesday night by Indians who were led by Somnath Bharti...We were harassed, we were beaten (with sticks). They said we should leave their country or else they would kill us one by one,” the Ugandan national said.
The woman said she identified Bharti because “he came in the night and the next day I saw him on television. The Delhi Police came in time and saved us from the mob.”
She had recorded her statement before a magistrate on Tuesday, saying that she would be able to identify the persons who had barged into her house on the intervening night of January 15-16.
The woman recorded her statement in camera under Sec 164 CrPC, which is admissible in court. The statement has been now given to police in a sealed cover and will be opened only during the trial.
A new police official will investigate the assault on four Ugandan women allegedly by Bharti, the police said on Wednesday. "A woman sub-inspector would investigate the assault on four Ugandan women allegedly by Bharti and the AAP supporters," they added.
Due to a protest led by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues, demanding the suspension of some police officials for their alleged inaction in busting a "prostitution and drug racket" and in a dowry case, the station house officer (SHO) of the Malviya Nagar police station has been sent on leave.
Following this, the probe has been transferred to the Mehrauli police, the official said.
Meanwhile, the Delhi commission for women summoned Bharti after the women alleged that they had been assaulted by the group led by the minister.
"We had asked him to appear before the commission on Tuesday but he did not show up. We will be sending another summon through the concerned SHO to him. If he still does not appear, we shall write to the L-G and to the Delhi Police commissioner to register an FIR," Barkha Singh, chairperson of the commission, said.
In an open letter to Kejriwal, a group of women activists including Kavita Krishnan said the conduct of the law minister was "shocking and is not acceptable".
Krishnan alleged that the "simple point is that he has endangered those African women by calling upon a mob to go chase them and catch them".
National Commission for Women chairperson Mamta Sharma said now it is clear that Bharti was present there at the spot as it has been confirmed by the Ugandan women after identifying him in the CD.
A court had ordered the registration of an FIR upon a petition filed by the woman in question seeking a criminal case against the alleged offenders.
Bharti had accused the foreign nationals of being involved in a drug and prostitution racket.Meanwhile, Air Deccan founder and AAP member Capt GR Gopinath said while the AAP demanded action against police officers pending an inquiry on grounds that they may interfere in the probe, the same yardstick should apply to Bharti.
He also said Kejriwal and his Cabinet should govern from their offices and only his party workers must protest.